Teknor Apex executive donates $1 million to URI College of Engineering

Media Contact: Jhodi Redlich, 401-874-4500 |
to fund endowed faculty position KINGSTON, R.I.-November 10, 1998 — Don’t be fooled when a smiling Victor Baxt tells you he is “just a little chemist.” After graduating from the former Rhode Island State College in 1938, he spent much of his life helping to turn Teknor Apex Co. into a leading producer of raw material plastic and chemicals for use in industry. Now the current vice chairman of the Pawtucket-based firm wants his alma mater, the University of Rhode Island, to become a leader in polymer engineering, the process used to create plastics. To help URI achieve that leadership position, he has donated $1 million to the University’s College of Engineering to establish the Victor J. Baxt Endowed Chair in Chemical Engineering. “Nearly all industry is connected in some way to plastic production or plastics use these days,” said Baxt, who earned his degree in chemistry at a time when only 1,000 students were enrolled at the state college. “One of the reasons I did this was that every University needs an area of excellence. “The College of Engineering has always had a great reputation, but it needs to develop expertise in this critical area of polymer engineering,” said Baxt who from 1968 to 1993 served as president of Teknor Apex, which has six major divisions, 2,000 employees and 10 locations across the country. URI President Robert L. Carothers had high praise for Baxt and his commitment to URI. “URI is very proud of Victor Baxt and his lifelong contribution to the engineering profession,” Carothers said. “To have an endowed chair in his name is a great honor for us and an inspiration to future generations of young engineers.” “Victor has been a great friend to the College, from his support for facilities improvements to student scholarships and now this endowed chair,” said Thomas J. Kim, dean of the College of Engineering. “He is a trusted advisor and critical advocate for the College and its students. With his professional accomplishments and great personal integrity, we are proud that he is a URI graduate.” Funds for the endowed chair will be used to attract a chemical engineer of great promise and stature in the field of polymer engineering. The chair is designed to attract a person with a national reputation as both a teacher and a researcher in the field and one who will form strong links to the corporate community. A member of the URI College of Engineering Hall of Fame who has also been a supporter of URI’s Chemistry Department, Baxt said Teknor Apex has hired a number of URI engineering graduates, some of whom are in top management positions. “We’re always looking for good people, and we are getting them from URI,” said Baxt, who holds a master’s degree from Duke University. He added that he has fond memories of his days as a student in Kingston. “My experience at URI was very pleasant. I enjoyed it. It was a small school and I made some good friends.” But his warm memories weren’t the only influences on Baxt’s decision to establish the chair. Baxt said he donated to the College of Engineering because of the enthusiasm of its dean, Thomas J. Kim. “I was gathered up in Tom’s enthusiasm for his program.” -xxx- For Further Information: Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116